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Qatar says any Israeli attack on Rafah will derail Gaza truce talks

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike the night before in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on March 16, 2024. (Original photo by AFP)

Qatar has warned that any attack by the Israeli regime on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip could derail the negotiation process, as talks for a ceasefire and captive deal in the besieged territory go on in Doha.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari made the remarks in a statement on Tuesday, saying any Israeli attack on Rafah would result in atrocities much worse than the crimes already carried out by the occupying regime in the blockaded territory over the past few months.

The official said Doha is cautiously optimistic about the ceasefire talks that have now resumed, and that it was too early to talk about any outcome.

There had been extensive mediation efforts in recent weeks to hammer out a truce before the holy fasting month of Ramadan began. But some 2.3 million people in Gaza started Ramadan as Israel continued with its merciless campaign of death and destruction with no prospect of an imminent truce.

Last week, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas proposed a six-week truce which Israel rejected. Sources close to the negotiations said Israel’s refusal to accept key conditions set by Hamas is the main obstacle in the way to reach a ceasefire agreement for Gaza.

Qatar said a counter-proposal from Israel could soon be presented to Hamas.

Hamas authorities have already said they would not agree to anything short of a permanent ceasefire while calling for a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and the unconditional return of displaced people to their homes.

Qatar played a key role in mediation efforts and helped secure a week-long ceasefire in Gaza that ended on December 1 and allowed Palestinian resistance groups and the Israeli regime to exchange captives and prisoners while enabling international organizations to deliver badly-needed humanitarian aid to the coastal sliver.

The Israeli regime ignited its savage war machine in Gaza on October 7, 2023, after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the regime’s atrocities.

Israel has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza since that October day.

The regime has imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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